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Safety can't be guaranteed in relationships, but unselfishness can be

Safety can't be guaranteed, but unselfishness can be

Q: One of my best friends is interested in me, and I'm confused. I really like Friend, but I recently ended a relationship, and I'm not sure I'm ready to start dating again. Above everything else I don't want to hurt Friend because I do care very deeply. I don't know how to figure out what I want without leading Friend on, since I might realize it's not what I want, and more heartbreak will ensue than if we just stayed in Friendville.

On the other hand, there's a voice in the back of my head saying, "What if Friend is right for me?" and it's hard to ignore, because we are good friends for a reason: We're very compatible. The result? Total paralysis.

Friendville's not so bad

A: In your case, I guess, total paralysis isn't so bad — but only because it's the logical middle ground between overruling your heart and overruling your judgment, neither of which tends to end well. Your recent breakup is a solid reason to hold back; churned-up emotions take time to settle back down. The risk of hurt feelings, however, is not a worthy deterrent. If you show an interest in Friend only to change your mind, then, yes, that will hurt him/her, obviously a bad thing . . . and if you never show any romantic interest, that will hurt Friend, too, in a different way.

Since it's not possible to guarantee that no one will ever get hurt, the only safeguard you can offer is that you won't be reckless with or selfish about someone's feelings for you. You've already shown that kind of consideration for your friend just in wrestling with what to do. So, if you find yourself emotionally ready for a new relationship and still harboring these romantic suspicions about your friend, I could argue that exploring your interest — slowly — is exactly what a good friend would do.

Sister misses big news posted on Facebook

Q: Recently, I had the following conversation with my sister:

Me: "I'm taking care of my grandson until his mom and the new baby come home from the hospital."

Sis: "WHAT? When was the baby born? Why didn't you tell me?"

Me: "Well . . . we posted it on Facebook . . . "

Sis: "Oh, I never bother with that!"

Maybe I should have given her the news personally, but at the same time, I feel slighted that she's not interested in me enough to read my "public" news.

It's not the first time I've run into this sort of thing — I'm not young, and neither are most of my friends. Many are technologically challenged. Some don't understand that "I had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch" means "I don't have exciting news, but I'm alive and well" rather than "I'm going to force you to read every tedious detail about my life." I understand that. But having gotten to the point of opening a Facebook account and becoming "friends" with me, would you say there's any rudeness in failing to check it occasionally?


A: Oh my goodness.

If the outcome you want is to get along with your sister, then learn from this without prejudice and start sharing big news with her (and others) directly. If what you want is to find fault with your sister, then you'll have to look somewhere else.

Safety can't be guaranteed in relationships, but unselfishness can be 04/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 4:30am]
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